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3.10.2 Transition to Adulthood - Interim Guidance for the Implementation of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010


  1. Introduction
  2. Principles Guiding Decisions to Provide Support
  3. The Process

1. Introduction

This interim guidance is intended to clarify the arrangements in connection with a new duty for local authorities for the provision of support to all Relevant/Former Relevant care leavers which was implemented from 1 April 2011.

Section 23 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (which amends Section 23D of the Children Act 1989) extends the entitlement to a Personal Adviser and to assistance in connection with education or training to the age of 25. This provision applies to those resuming programmes whose support may have previously ceased at the age of 21.

This guidance therefore relates to the new duty – i.e. to those re-contacting their leaving care service after the age of 21 and who then inform the local authority that they wish to take up full-time education after the age of 21 and before the age of 25.

Under these circumstances the local authority has a duty to:

  • Appoint a Personal Adviser;
  • Carry out an assessment of the needs to determine what assistance (if any) it would be appropriate to provide;
  • Prepare a Pathway Plan;
  • Give assistance to the extent that the young person's educational or training needs require it. The kinds of assistance are:
    • Contribute to expenses incurred by him/her in living near the place where he/she is, or will be, receiving education or training; or
    • Making a grant to enable him to meet expenses connected with his education and training.

The duties of the local authority subsist for as long as the young person pursues the programme of education or training in accordance with the Pathway Plan. The local authority may disregard any interruption in the education/training if it is satisfied that the young person will resume it as soon as is reasonably practicable.

In each case where a care leaver requests this support, the local authority will need to assess the appropriateness of the course and how it will help the young person to achieve his or her ambitions. The extent of the practical and financial assistance provided will reflect the type of course, whether full- or part-time, and the young person's existing income.

2. Principles Guiding Decisions to Provide Support

  • Any request for support with education and training made by a young person over the age of 21 will be subject to an assessment process as detailed below, and should not be seen as an automatic entitlement;
  • The scope of the support to be provided will be based on individual need. For example, whether or not additional support is required with accommodation or finance will be individually assessed. All available sources of support will be explored in considering any request;
  • The most recent Pathway Plan completed on or around the 21st birthday will be used as a reference in the decision making process;
  • The decision making process will be guided by the Regulations and Guidance Volume 3, Section 3. Requests will be assessed flexibly in considering the support to be offered to young people post 21;
  • Decision-making will be fair, equitable and based on transparent criteria;
  • The assessment process will consider whether the young person has demonstrated commitment to the chosen programme of education or training;
  • The chosen programme should have a link and/or be a progression from any previous training or education undertaken but does not have to be at a ‘minimum’ level i.e. NVQ level 2 or 3;
  • The young person should have an overall plan regarding what they hope to do when the programme is completed.

3. The Process

When involvement with a care leaver ceases at the age of 21, they will be advised that they can re-contact the service if they wish to seek support with any further education or training. A pro-forma letter will be supplied and the young person will be advised of the assessment process. This information will also be available via the local authority web-site.

Once a letter requesting support has been received, an assessment of need will be carried out with the young person. This will refer to the most recent Pathway Plan completed before his or her 21st birthday.

The decision regarding on-going support will be made by the Leaving Care Service Manager. The young person will be informed of the decision in writing. If it is agreed that support will be given, a more detailed Pathway Plan will be completed setting out how this support is to be provided and for what period of time

This support will be then be reviewed regularly as per the practice of reviewing Pathway Plans.